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KARNAK NIGHTS                         229
Was it but the riotous hallucination of a meditative mind? Was it the emergence of a latent idea derived from my interest in the Past?
Was it the clairvoyant vision of a spirit-priest who had really been there?
Or was it an ancestral reminiscence of a former existence of mine in Egypt?
For me, knowing my own intensely stirred feelings* during and after the time of the vision, there was but a single possible reply. ^
A wise man will not leap swiftly to conclusions, for Truth is an elusive lady who, says ancient report, lives at the bottom of an extremely deep well.
Yet I accepted, I had to accept, an affirmative answer to the last question.
Einstein has upset the conservative views of time which once prevailed. He has demonstrated mathematically that someone able to take a four-dimensional glimpse of things will have a very different sense of past and present from that which man ordinarily enjoys. This may help one to understand the possibility that Nature keeps a perfect memory of the past, in which are perpetuated the pictures of vanished centuries. I could well comprehend how in these sensitive moments of meditation, a man might involuntarily and mysteriously touch this memory.
Another night found me driving out at eleven in the evening to a rendezvous in the small village of Naga Tahtani, some distance beyond Karnak. Luxor and Karnak had been left behind when I took the road beside the banks of the Nile for a good stretch and then turned off, at a sharp right angle, for twenty minutes or so.
In an open space that marked the centre of the ^village—it corresponded to the English village green, but here it was only an unpaved sandy square—I found more than two hundred men squatting in the dust. Not a single woman was present. They were dressed in long Arab robes and white turbans and seemed a simple, primitive type of people.
On a raised verandah of whitewashed, plastered earth sat